Then and Now
Did you know? In 1991, the year the Georgia Public Policy Foundation was established, according to one advertisement (May 1991), a business-class 386/33 personal computer with 4MB of RAM, a 200MB hard disk and 14-inch display sold for $4,299 ($7,544 in today’s dollars). A similarly-equipped 486-33 was $7,699, or $13,511 today. Source: ZDNET.com
January 27: MONDAY is the deadline to register for the Foundation’s annual National School Choice Week celebration. Join Georgia State Sen. Hunter Hill, State Rep. Mike Dudgeon and education innovator Mike Davis for “Georgia Education: Reforms and Recommendations,” a Leadership Breakfast 8 a.m. Wednesday, January 27 at Cobb County’s Georgian Club. This event is open to the public. $30. Free parking. Information here; register to attend here.
February 17: Mark your calendar for, “Georgia Criminal Justice Reform: Looking Ahead, Staying Ahead,” an 8 a.m. Foundation Leadership Breakfast at Cobb County’s Georgian Club. The keynote speaker is Judge Michael P. Boggs, co-chairman of the Governor’s Criminal Justice Reform Task Force; details to follow.
Quotes of Note
“If we remain poor and dependent, the riches of other men will not avail us. If we are ignorant, the intelligence of other men will do but little for us. If we are foolish, the wisdom of other men will not guide us. If we are wasteful of time and money, the economy of other men will only make our destitution the more disgraceful and hurtful.” – Frederick Douglass
“I think all of us have really got to redouble our efforts, first of all, to pay attention to the K-12 crisis. The sad fact is that I can look at your ZIP code and tell whether you’re going to get a good education. That’s not fair.” – Condoleezza Rice
“A seamless network of these express lane additions throughout the region’s interstate system will offer all people – including both auto drivers and transit riders – an alternative to congestion.” – Joel Smith
Middle of the road: Georgia ranks a ho-hum 25th in economic performance but seventh in economic outlook in the eighth annual ALEC-Laffer State Competitiveness Index, according to “Rich States, Poor States,” released Thursday by the American Legislative Council. The economic outlook is the highest rank ever. North Carolina – with historic income and corporate tax cuts – is the only state in the South to beat Georgia, coming .in at No. 10 in performance and No. 4 in outlook.
National School Choice Week: As the nation celebrates options in education with more than 16,000 events – including ours – January 24-30, we encourage you to watch this video that highlights the importance of school choice. Be sure to join the 11 a.m. rally at the State Capitol after the Foundation’s January 27 event, too!
Good news, bad news: About 1.2 million adults in Georgia – 18 percent of the working-age population – do not have a high school diploma, Gretchen Corbin, Commissioner of the Technical College System of Georgia, told lawmakers this week. Happily, a record 12,252 students are participating in the dual high school-college enrollment program, Move On When Ready. That’s a 39 percent increase over the last school year.
By the numbers: As legislators examine Governor Deal’s 2017 budget proposal, consider some interesting facts and figures. Georgia’s K-12 spending per student is higher than all but one of its neighboring states, according to the most recent data. As for higher education: While the average amount of in-state tuition and fees at Georgia’s public universities increased more than 31 percent over the past five years, Georgia still ranks below the national average in tuition and fees.
Staying on track: The deepening of Savanah’s port will lead to an increase in truck and rail freight traffic in Georgia, but rail’s proportion will remain the same at about 15 percent, Craig Camuso of CSX told the State Board of Transportation this week. One CSX train is the equivalent of 282 trucks, he said.
Woodwork effect: The Affordable Care Act has triggered upgrades in states’ Medicaid eligibility and enrollment systems, and increases in enrollment as more people learn they qualify for Medicaid. For Georgia, it led to a 15.7 percent increase in the cost of Medicaid, even without any expansion. Before ObamaCare, the average monthly enrollment for Medicaid/PeachCare was 1,535,090; by October 2015 (latest data) enrollment was 1,736,302, an increase of 13 percent.
Deadline approaches: If you plan to vote in the presidential primaries in Georgia, please note you must register to vote by February 1, 2016. Find out more at the Web site for the office of the Secretary of State.
Patience, grasshopper: Thanks to the spotlight from the Foundation and Watchdog.org on Peachtree City’s plans for costly taxpayer-funded government broadband, the city put the project out to bid. The delay has uncovered cheaper options, according to The Citizen newspaper.
Georgia’s budget: Georgia Governor Nathan Deal delivered the annual State of the State address last week. Read about some of his recommendations.
Involuntary giving: Before World War II, 28 major sports facilities were built and just five were paid for in part with taxpayer subsidies, according to Will Freeland of the American Legislative Exchange Council. “Since World War II, there’s been 140 sports stadiums built or refurbished, and only 14 didn’t use taxpayer dollars.” Freeland maintains states should improve their tax codes “instead of offering one or two businesses a special sweetheart deal.” Source: Heartland Institute
Voluntary giving: Americans are the world’s most generous people, according to the new Almanac of American Philanthropy. And the wealthiest 1.4 percent of Americans are responsible for 86 percent of charitable donations made at death. Further, by 47-32 percent, Americans believe charitable groups are better than government in solving the nation’s social problems.
This month in the archives: In January 2001, the Foundation published, “Property Rights, Politics and Policy.” It noted, “Condemnations in so-called blighted areas for redevelopment purposes and improving the tax base, and even some condemnations for so-called public purpose, have come to be stretched beyond belief with nebulous definitions and little recourse for property owners.”
Foundation in the news: The Columbia County News-Times published, “Beyond Medicaid: health care for low-income Georgians,” by Benita Dodd.
Visit http://www.georgiapolicy.org to read our latest commentary, “Cost-Benefit Analysis in Transportation Can be Misleading,” By Robert Krol.
Have a great weekend!
Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd
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To have an organization dedicated to the study of the problems that face Georgia in a bipartisan way….is absolutely one of the finest things that’s happened to our state.